Mid 1800s   Big Cove Cumberland Presbyterian Church is established.

1906 Session votes to unite with the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (PC USA)
1911 Current white church is built, across the road from the original location of the old church.
1950 Big Cove joins eight other churches to form the Madison-Limestone Larger Parish, with church services twice monthly
1963 Creation of Madison Larger Parish, consisting of Big Cove, Madison Cross Roads, and New Market United Presbyterian Churches. The Rev. Washio Ishii called as pastor to all three churches.
1985 Big Cove becomes independent and calls The Rev. Ishii as pastor.
1989 The Rev. Washio Ishii retires.
2002 The Rev. Skip Babcock, longtime supply pastor, retires.
2002 North Alabama Presbytery calls Commissioned Ruling Elder Rosemary McMahan to serve Big Cove Church.
2005 Rev. Houston Hodges (honorably retired) offers his services as Parish Associate.
2006 Second service, First Light, begins with weekly communion, guitar music, and Power Point presentations.
2006 Big Cove applies for, and receives, a grant for redevelopment.
2007 Big Cove becomes dual campus, with First Light Worship Center at new location and traditional worship at the church.
2010 Two campuses reunite and building plans and process begin.
2011 Capital Campaign succeeds.
2012 New building is completed. CLP Rosemary McMahan is ordained to Minister of Word and Sacrament.
2013 Begin planning for next phase.
2015 Pastor Rosemary McMahan departs to seek new challenges. Big Cove begins search process for the calling of a new full time minister.
2017 Pastor Candice Klein called as pastor for Big Cove.

Historical Photos: Presbyterian America

Presbyterian churches trace their historical roots back to John Calvin, a 16th-century French reformer who also lived, wrote and ministered in Holland. Calvin trained for the Catholic priesthood and as a lawyer, but eventually converted to the Reformation movement and became a theologian and minister. He wrote a great deal during his career, including lengthy Bible commentaries. Calvin’s theology was similar to Martin Luther’s  – the doctrines of original sin, justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the sole authority of the scriptures. But Calvin placed his greatest emphasis on God’s power and glory. Presbyterianism in America has always maintained an essentially Calvinist outlook: its focus was on hard work, discipline, the salvation of souls and the building of a better world. During the Civil War, American Presbyterians divided into southern and northern branches. These two churches reunited in 1983 to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the largest Presbyterian/Reformed denomination in the United States.

(Click to enlarge photos)

Historical marker for the site of the first Presbytery formed in the United States – 1706 [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].




Old Hill Presbyterian Church building of Chester, New Jersey, 1751-1756.


The First Presbyterian Church of Wetumpka, Alabama has served from 1836 to the present day. Confederate units mustered here for duty during the Civil War.


Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church of North Carolina.




Old First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, 1848-1916.



Mary Todd Lincoln joined First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, IL in 1852. President Lincoln attended with his family. Today the Church still has original manuscript of the sermon delivered by their minister at the President’s funeral.



The Frederick, Maryland Presbyterian Church hosted such notable persons in 1862 as Gen. Stonewall Jackson. It also served as a hospital for soldiers during the Civil War.


    The Frederick, Maryland Presbyterian Church today.


The Presbyterian Historical Society is itself 160 years old, the oldest continuous denominational historical society in the United States. It was established in 1854 at its current location in Philadelphia, PA.

Lincoln’s initial notes when developing his Gettysburg address did not include the phrase “under God”; but he may have added those words, some scholars believe, due to the inspiration and influence of his Presbyterian minister, Dr. Phineas D. Gurley in Washington, D.C.


 Rev. Byron Sunderland of Shoreham, VT was a Presbyterian minister who served as U.S. Senate Chaplain during the Civil War.


Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison, both Presbyterians, ran against each other for U.S. President. Both were eventually elected to serve in that office. Cleveland served one term, followed by Harrison for one term. But after Harrison’s term, Cleveland was elected again, becoming the only U.S. President to ever serve two non-consecutive terms.

Communion Ware – 1868 [believed to be from Presbyterian Church of Friday Harbor, Washington].



The United Presbyterian Orphans Home was established in Pennsylvania in 1878.


Faculty & students of the Presbyterian School for Native-American girls, 1887 – Indian Territory near Muscogee, Oklahoma.


Seal adopted by the 1892 Presbyterian Assembly.




Baseball great Billy Sunday became a famous and popular Presbyterian Minister [photo circa 1888]

This memorial print was dedicated to Presbyterian missionaries killed in China during the Boxer Rebellion [1899-1901].




The Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian mission and parsonage, 1910 – Huntington Beach, California.


Presbyterian parsonage at the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, Owyhee, Nevada – July 1920.


Vacation Bible School at Sharon Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, N.C. – June 1931


A Presbyterian church Thanksgiving food drive – 1950




A travelling Presbyterian minister – which was common in rural areas at that time – holds a Sunday School class during the 1950’s.

A National Missions exhibit at the PC USA General Assembly, 1954.


Gift packages from America are delivered to Chungwon-Ni Presbyterian Church in South Korea, 1954.



1959 map of Presbyterian Synods in the United States; approximately 32 Synods were being administered at that time. Today there are 16 Synods in the PC (USA). In the Presbyterian system, individual church congregations within one geographical area are united under administration of a regional body called the Presbytery; and likewise, the various presbyteries located within the same region of the country comprise a Synod – a level of administration between the local Presbytery and the national General Assembly.

Fred M. Rogers [creator and star of television’s “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”, 1968-2001] was an ordained Presbyterian minister.



Timeline of American Presbyterian Church History.




Nearly 1 in every 4 U.S. Presidents has been Presbyterian:

Andrew Jackson – 7th U.S. President
James Knox Polk – 11th U.S. President
James Buchanan – 15th U.S. President
Rutherford B. Hayes – 19th U.S. President
Grover Cleveland – 22nd and 24th U.S. President
Benjamin Harrison – 23rd U.S. President
Woodrow Wilson – 28th U.S. President; Wilson married a Presbyterian minister’s daughter, Ellen Louise Axson, in Savannah, Georgia (1885)
Dwight D. Eisenhower – 34th U.S. President
Ronald Reagan – 40th U.S. President

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President, never officially affiliated himself with a specific denomination. However, his wife and family were all Presbyterians, and he attended services with them at the First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, IL, and – as President – at the New York Avenue Presbyterian church in Washington D.C.

Other Presbyterians who are/were also notable governmental figures:

Jomo Kenyatta – president of Kenya
Hendrik Verwoerd – prime minister of South Africa
Dean Rusk – U.S. secretary of state
Condoleezza Rice – U.S. Secretary of State
Aaron Burr – U.S. Vice-President under Jefferson
John C. Calhoun – U.S. Vice-President under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson
John C. Breckinridge – U.S. Vice-President under Buchanan
William A. Wheeler – U.S. Vice-President under Hayes
Thomas A. Hendricks – U.S. Vice-President under Cleveland
Adlai E. Stevenson – U.S. Vice-President under Cleveland
Thomas R. Marshall – U.S. Vice-President under Wilson
Charles G. Dawes – U.S. Vice-President under Coolidge
Henry A. Wallace – U.S. Vice-President under F.D. Roosevelt
Walter Mondale – U.S. Vice-President under Carter
Dan Quayle – U.S. Vice-President under George H.W. Bush
George Akerson – the first White House Press Secretary
Lloyd Bentsen, Jr. – Democratic nominee for Vice President in 1988; 4-term U.S. Senator from Texas, U.S.Treasury Secretary
Bob Dole – U.S. Senator from Kansas, former Republican United States Senate Majority Leader; Republican nominee for President in the 1996
Elizabeth Dole – U.S. Senator from North Carolina; former head of American Red Cross; wife of U.S.Senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole
John Foster Dulles – U.S. Secretary of State in the 1950s
Robert McNamara – U.S. Secretary of Defense; president of the World Bank
Melvin Laird – U.S. Secretary of Defense
Bill Frist – U.S. Senate Majority Leader
Robert Bacon – U.S. Ambassador to France (1909-1912)
Marlin Fitzwater – White House Press Secretary (1987-1993)
Warren Burger – Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
William O. Douglas – U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1939-1975)
John Marshal Harlan – U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1955-1971)

 Some other famous Presbyterians:

Reverend John Witherspoon – the only minister in America’s fledgling congress of 1776; signer of the Declaration of Independence
Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson – Confederate General
Daniel Defoe – English novelist; author of “Robinson Crusoe”
Robert Louis Stevenson – English author who wrote “Treasure Island”, “Kidnapped”, “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde”
Author Samuel L. Clemens (aka Mark Twain)
Author William Faulkner (“A Fable”, “The Reivers”, “The Sound and the Fury”, “As I Lay Dying”, “Absalom, Absalom!”) – winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize
Author Pearl S. Buck (“The Good Earth”) – winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize
Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery – wrote “Anne of Green Gables”
James Naismith – inventor of the game of basketball
Astronaut John Glenn – first American to orbit the Earth
Astronaut Sally Ride – first woman in space
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who along with Neil Armstrong was one of the first two men to walk on the moon (Apollo 11, July 1969)
Peter Marshall – popular minister; U.S. Senate Chaplain; portrayed in the book & movie “A Man Called Peter”
Andrew Carnegie – American businessman and philanthropist
Ross Perot – billionaire businessman; third-party U.S. Presidential candidate
Sam Walton – founder of Wal-Mart
Journalist and broadcaster David Brinkley
Actor John Wayne
Actor Christopher Reeves
Actor Dick Van Dyke
Actress Agnes Moorehead
Cowboy Star Roy Rogers
Actor Richard Burton
Actor Jimmy Stewart
Singer and actress Debbie Reynolds
Actress Greer Garson – Academy Award winner
Actor Raymond Burr
Actress Carol Lawrence
Actor Jim Carrey
Shirley Temple Black – Child movie star and later U.S. Congresswoman
Former pro football player and TV sportscaster Frank Gifford
TV host and comedian David Letterman
TV host Katie Couric
Actress Patricia Heaton (Debra Barrone on the CBS sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond”, and Frances “Frankie” Heck on the ABC sitcom “The Middle”)
Sandra Knight, TV and film actress who is married to actor Jack Nicholson
Movie producer Ralph Winter (whose productions include “X-Men”, “Fantastic Four” and “Star Trek”)
Coleen Townsend – Hollywood actress who became the wife of a Presbyterian minister and an author of religious books